Cross Country: Running with the Family
by SOPHIA GARCIA '21
In Saint Ursula Academy, there are many diverse sports that students can choose. There’s of course soccer, volleyball, basketball, and even golf, and all of those kinds of sports have a factor in common. All of them involve trying out, and being cut if the student isn’t excelling like the rest. Even so, there are still other sports like swimming and track that don’t cut people at all, one of them includes cross country.
Within the cross country team, the runners are all from different grades, and every single player is there for different reasons. Despite these differences, in this team, there’s a family that’s willing to work hard during practices and races.
Many girls in cross country would agree that the team is like a second family to them - always behind their backs, and always cheering on the team, no matter what.
In cross country, runners are not only willing to help, but also determined to push others towards their full potential. “This has been the best sport of any sort I’ve ever played,” Sydney Boosveld ‘22 says. “I couldn’t be happier to find my forever family!”
Just like Sydney, for many other runners, being part of the team means more than winning. It means being willing to push both yourself and others in the right direction. And the team is always willing to accept other people who do other sports, as long as the new runners understand that hard work is needed throughout the season.
Just like any other family, cross country also is very accepting of others who are willing to work. Throughout the whole season, new runners, especially girls that got cut from sports, start to realize how much harder cross country can actually be. Practices would always start at 4:00, then end at 6:00, but there’s a lot more to it than running.
The cross country coach, Dan Bird, explains that his plan came from his last coach, who he taught him “the exercises needed to make sure everyone in the team is healthy and in shape.”
During the cross country season, there are always downsides of being in the team; one of them includes the weather conditions during practices. Practices may sometimes be harder for girls, running in all of the weather conditions, but the best part is the races when the girls see all their hard work has paid off.
And even though races are on a Saturday morning, girls always try to make the best of it. “I love the atmosphere of the running community at SUA," captain Deirdre Carroll ‘21 explains. “It's so special for me to watch girls join the team and grow to love running! The fact that we all run a 5k makes the team feel much more cohesive since we are all working towards a common goal.”
Because of how big the team is, there are many girls in many different grades, but in cross country, it doesn’t matter what grade they’re in. What matters is having a team that’s willing to cheer you on throughout the whole season. Some girls can also be still be injured throughout the whole season, but cross country is always willing to welcome them with open arms. “I know I didn’t run because of my injury, but I loved showing to the practices and seeing all these girls giving off so much positive energy,” Adare Lindy ‘23 comments. “I can definitely say I have a family of Bulldogs that I can go to about anything!”
So it doesn’t matter if you’re injured, got cut from a sport, or started at a later date. Cross country will always show you at the end of the day that all that matters is family, and believe it or not, we’re one big family.